Fragmandroid: Google’s mad dash to Microsoftdom

Apple Online StoreKontra writes for counternotions, “Observing Microsoft’s dilemma against the iPod/iTunes juggernaut a few years ago, Steve Jobs offered this prediction: The problem is, the PC model doesn’t work in the consumer electronics industry, where you’ve got all these companies and some does one thing and another does another thing. It just doesn’t work. What’s going to happen is that Microsoft is going to have to get into the hardware business of making MP3 players. This year. X-player, or whatever.

“Soon Microsoft did get into the hardware business by introducing its own Zune player coupled with its un-licensed PlaysForSure platform, thereby leaving its erstwhile manufacturing partners high and dry,” Kontra writes. “The anti-Apple digital music camp hasn’t recovered since.”

Microsoft made its money in software. Its forays into hardware have been far more troublesome: its PC peripherals business has been profitable but non-strategic, Xbox a financial drain since its inception, Ultra-Mobile PC and Surface most forgettable, and Zune an unmitigated disaster,” Kontra writes. “Unlike Microsoft, Google had shied away from hardware until now (except for its lackluster enterprise search appliance). But with the circulating news about its Nexus One smartphone, Google may have decided to complete its ongoing emulation of its archenemy.”

Kontra writes, “I’m sure Google has recognized that 125,000 iPhone apps represent an emerging consumer behavior which obviates traditional browser-based navigation and search in favor of domain specific apps that access data and information in much faster and easier ways. Why go to a web browser, type a search term like it was the 1990s and wade through pages of search results, when you can click a button or flick a gesture to get an efficient answer with a dedicated app? Why suffer through Google-supplied ads when a native app costs next to nothing on the iPhone?”

Kontra writes, “So while the market is still relatively nascent, it looks like Google has decided to do what Microsoft couldn’t successfully pull off: Apple-style vertical integration of hardware, OS, apps and services…direct to customer.”

Kontra asks, “Will Google succeed where Microsoft failed?”

Full article – recommended – here.


  1. Google doesn’t do what Apple does. It rebrands an existing phone (HTC) just like MS does with their Zune (a toshiba i think?). Therefore they can never accomplish the same level of integration as Apple. Not saying they have to though as they might have other advantages like an open platform, a review system that actually works ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />
    Im actually looking forward to some competition for Apple in this field, ever since they launched the iPod they have been the king of the hill in this area and can do pretty much whatever they want. For example I would like to be able to plug my iPhone to a TV and enjoy high def movies (travel alot). And the possibility to send files via BT would be nice

  2. Google lacks of what Apple has:


    Like Microsoft, Google design is awful.

    Unlike Microsoft, they do have good ideas, though.

    Example: Google Wave. Awesome concept. Awful design.

    But without design, I don’t see them competing with Apple

  3. By 1990, Microsoft had 15 years experience with product development cycles, outside sales, channel partners, and after-sale support. Microsoft started as a product company, and remains a product company.

    By contrast, Google hasn’t got 15 years experience in anything. For the last 11 years, they have essentially been a services company (to put it in old-school terms). Sure, they’ve experimented with a handful of actually shippable products (just like they “experiment” with most everything else they make), but they do not have the same sort of sales and channel chops that MS had back in the 1990’s or today.

    Bottom line, software development and ad-sales, while something Google has excelled at since their inception, does not qualify nor equip them to design, market, distribute, retail, and support an actual physical product. To actually pull it off at all (let alone succeed), they’ll need some big partners.

    And as Microsoft knows, partners have a way of interfering with the execution of a brilliantly flawed plan.

  4. On the other hand, Google has a chance at something that Microsoft never even comprehended: panache. Google may be able to succeed implementing its own ideas where M$ has always been just another rip-off artist selling knock-off t-shirts from a street cart.

  5. @me

    xbox made a profit for the first time in its history, last quarter. At least I think that’s what I read the other day.

    Are you trying to infer xbox has been a success for microsoft?

  6. GE: no, you misremember (GWB™).. 10^100 is called googol, not a Google. Actually, I suspect that in choosing Google, they had the insanely exponential computer from The Forbidden Planet in mind.

  7. @enzos,

    If that’s the case, I want to know where they’re going to locate their self-maintaining, self-repairing computer system that is 20km X 20km X 20km, chock full of klystron relays for plugging into the collective subconscience of an entire race of veritable geniuses … Uhh, never mind; I think we need the brain booster first.

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